News24

Ronaldo strike helps Real

2012-04-21 22:05

Barcelona - Real Madrid have one hand on a first La Liga trophy in four years after Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brilliant winner in a 2-1 victory at Barcelona on Saturday that stretched their lead over their bitter rivals to seven points with four games left.

It was Real's first win in eight La Liga 'Clasicos' and could have an impact on confidence for next week's Champions League semi-final second legs when Real host Bayern Munich and Barca entertain Chelsea.

On a rain-swept night at the Nou Camp, when Real also set a new record of 109 goals scored in a league season, Sami Khedira was sharpest to react when Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes dropped the ball at a corner.

The Germany midfielder bundled it over the line for a 17th-minute lead.

Barca had started nervously and lacked their usual fluidity and once Real were ahead they defended solidly and rarely looked like conceding as Barca stroked the ball around on the slick surface without real penetration.

The noise volume inside the giant arena rose after substitute Alexis Sanchez finally scrambled the ball in for the equaliser with 20 minutes left but the home fans were silenced three minutes later.

Mesut Ozil's superb pass released Ronaldo on the right and he took the ball wide before smashing it home.

The goal, extending his La Liga record tally for the season to 42, was the best response to critics who accuse the Portuguese of flopping in big games and he is now one goal ahead of Barca forward Lionel Messi at the top of the scoring chart.

Barca had won six Clasicos and drawn one since coach Pep Guardiola took over in 2008. It was a first victory in the contest for Guardiola's Real counterpart Jose Mourinho in four attempts.

As well as virtually wrapping up the title, Real's win ended Barca's 11-match winning streak in the league and inflicted a first defeat on the Catalans in 35 league matches at the Nou Camp and in 55 home games in all competitions.

It was a triumph for Portuguese Mourinho, the combative former Barca assistant coach whom Real took from Inter Milan two years ago to try to end Barca's three-year grip on the Spanish title.

Mourinho may yet have another crack at his old club in the Champions League final although they trail Bayern 2-1 and Barca are 1-0 down to Chelsea after this week's first legs in Munich and London.

Saturday's match followed a similar pattern to Wednesday's game at Stamford Bridge, with Barca dominating possession but struggling to find a way through a resolute defence.

The Spanish and European champions suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in nearly three years and now need to regroup for Tuesday's clash with Chelsea.


Reuters

Comments
  • Dhirshan - 2012-04-21 22:20

    real will win the big 2 - la liga and cl. but barca will still end up with 4 trophies this season - world club cup, 2 super cups and spanish cup. 2 best teams on earth no matter what the haters say! good luck for cl 2nd legs boys . . .

  • Dhirshan - 2012-04-21 22:20

    real will win the big 2 - la liga and cl. but barca will still end up with 4 trophies this season - world club cup, 2 super cups and spanish cup. 2 best teams on earth no matter what the haters say! good luck for cl 2nd legs boys . . .

      Abee - 2012-04-22 10:53

      Barca best team in the world

  • toni.hasani - 2012-04-21 22:42

    big up 2madrid cr7 u rocked man

  • dbnsfynest - 2012-04-21 23:22

    CR7...enough said

  • Mosotho - 2012-04-22 06:09

    I'm afraid Barcelona isn't getting any better every season. Viva The Special One - The King of football!

      Rophney - 2012-04-22 06:36

      ronaldo is a profesional and he can make things heppen 2 my side messi mr profesor keep it up

      Tumi - 2012-04-22 09:42

      ja Jose is by far the most talented nd best coach ever the results speaks 4 themselves check wt he did 2 chelsea they r still using his players now even madrid will benefit frm his his players 4 long after he leave them after this season

  • bbooyse - 2012-04-22 08:36

    Morinho obviously watched the Chelsea game: Isolate Messi and stop Barca's crosses from linking up and they were paralysed. Well done Madrid, let's see if you can pull it off against Bayern Munchen this week - Let's hope this win isn't going to cost you in injuries...

      bbooyse - 2012-04-22 19:40

      Barcalona certainly isn't just Messi, I do believe though in this instance his isolation and Real's ability to stop Barca from effectively crossing into the box was key in countering the 3 to 1 ball possession.

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